This performance has been commercially released on Road Trips: Volume 3, Number 2
Tennessee Jed, Mexicali Blues, Jack Straw, Me And Bobby McGee, China Cat Sunflower-> I Know You Rider, El Paso-> Sugaree, Big Railroad Blues, Beat It On Down The Line Truckin'-> Drums-> The Other One-> Me & My Uncle, Loser, Playin' In The Band, Casey Jones
Charles Weir fix of original SBD source; including a written txt file
This little-known show is a real gem. It's right at a point of major transition - Keith is on board, but no Donna yet. The band is clearly energized by the added sophistication of his piano, but he is clearly not comfortably integrated yet, so Bobby still carries most of the rhythm duties, with Keith embelishing. Phil still sings the high harmonies.
The material is a mixture of old familiars and new ones that would appear a year later on Europe 72. The band is confident, both instrumentally and vocally, simultaneously energetic and relaxed.
Listening to this show, you'd never anticipate how much the band's sound would change in just the next few months, as Donna took over high harmonies, and Keith's piano took over primary rhythm status. Both Keith's piano and Donna's harmonies formalized the arrangements of the songs, as did re-adding Mickey a little later; there is a level of looseness and innocense in this show that was gone forever in just a few short months.
I won't do a play-by-play of the setlist, but a couple of highlights: the number for the intro of BIODTL was 25, and Billy blew it, ending at 24. So they started over, but you can hear Jerry re-set the count to 3. The Other One is a great reading, going deep into the void without any frantic flailing. Energetic but calm, extremely confident, then segueing into a Wharf Rat that is somehow both exquisitely delicate and ferociously muscular. As great as the best '72 tp '74 performances could get, this type of joyous looseness was over once the piano was fully integrated into the mix.
The combination of new sophisticated material and old flexibility, recorded remarkably crisp and clear, makes this show irresistable. Get it.
January 19, 2005 Subject:
Fall of 1971 -- The Beginning of the End
The Dead had two important phases: 1965 through summer of 1971 (when Pigpen got sick), and then fall of '71 through the fall of '74. Shows such as this in fall of '71 retained much of the orirignal energy of classic/primal dead, but were already starting to slow things down in tempo. This worked out well for blues and country rock ballads, but took the edge off of the Dead's force as a psychedelic rock band (as when they were peers of the Airplane, Hendrix, Floyd, etc.). Plus, by this time, the band was working pretty close to the formula of short rock 'n roll tunes in the first set, and long jams in the second set. Anyway, this show is true to form with solid versions of standards like Bertha and Sugaree. Embryonic space jamming in Playin' and another good Other One/ MAMU sandwich.